History is sailing into Brunswick this weekend. The El Galeón, a replica of a Spanish exploratory sailing ship, will visit the city dock downtown, arriving Sunday. It will remain at Mary Ross Waterfront Park until Tuesday.
The expansive vessel, measuring 160 feet, was built and modeled after the historic merchant ships that traversed the seas more than 300 years ago. The purpose of those ships was to travel the world to find new ports of trade and claim new territories for the Spanish crown. They were active between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Owned by the Nao Victoria Foundation, El Galeón was modeled after vessels from the 17th century, was constructed in Spain. The replica was completed after three years of historical research and 17 months of construction.
It was designed and built by Ignacio Fernandez Vial, a naval engineer and historian, based in Spain. Since its construction, the galleon has sailed all over the world, visiting ports to offer an educational platform for visitors. Much like its predecessors, the ship has sailed from her homeland across the Pacific and Indian oceans.
It has also crossed the Atlantic, as well as traversed the Mediterranean, the Red and South China Seas. It is manned by a crew of between 15 and 35 sailors. It is currently traveling the East Coast before it makes its way back to Spain.
Its visit to Brunswick will cap off a nautical weekend for the city, which will hold its annual Blessing of the Fleet Saturday at Sidney Lanier Park. And Mathew Hill, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, hopes locals and guests will take advantage of this chance to see the ship.
“This is the first time this ship has visited Brunswick. It has been visiting the East Coast for the last four years. As it travels, it serves as a floating museum, offering visitors opportunities to explore its six decks in and effort to learn more about how the original sailors who boarded these vessels lived and worked,” he said.
“This is an opportunity to see the type of ship that ruled the seas from the 16th to the 18th centuries. It’s always amazing to me how small these vessels were to make such long voyages.”
Admission to visit the ship is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets may be purchased at the ship or online at the El Galeón’s website, https://www.fundacionnaovictoria.org.